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Learn About South Sea Pearls

Broome is home to the world’s most rare and large oyster – the Pinctada maxima. This new species was first discovered in 1861 by the crew of the ‘Dolphin’ at Nickol Bay. This discovery caused a sensation in European and American markets because of its large size in comparison to any other shell available.

Pearls are formed when an irritant, such as a particle of food, becomes trapped in the mollusc. The animal senses the object and coats it with a very thin layer of “nacre” – the membrane-forming protein which is also called mother-of-pearl. This material is the same substance the animal uses to build its shell.

South sea pearls are known for their exceptional quality and beauty. They are distinguished from all others by their thick natural coating of nacre. This results in extraordinary lustre that delivers shine and complex colours which shift under different light conditions.

Pearls have become extremely valuable because each one takes at least 2 years to form and is unique due to the subtle influence of the ocean environment.

There is a simple test that you can use to distinguish cultured and natural pearls from imitation ones. Take a pearl and rub it gently against the edge of your tooth. Cultured and natural pearls will feel slightly rough, like fine sandpaper, but imitation pearls will feel smooth as glass because the surface is moulded or painted on a smooth bead.

At Jools, we have white and gold south sea pearls, as well as Tahitian pearls. Our designers incorporate these with Western Australia’s precious metal resources and diamonds to produce world-class jewellery.